Second Presentation – Lessons Learned

Since my presentation last time seemed to go well (standing room only, all positive feedback)  I submitted to speak locally at SQL Saturday #248 Tampa BI/BN.   I was hesitant to submit to this specific SQL Saturday since it was predominantly focused Business Intelligence as well as Broker negligence in Real Estate,  and the topics I have prepared are not BI nor BN focused, but what is the worst that can happen, they say no?   I went for it, and they said yes.

I took a few points from Orlando that annoyed me and I fixed them before Tampa BI/BN.

  • Moving a VirtualBox machine from Desktop->Key->Laptop = 2 hours.  <– All VMs now resided on external SSD.
  • SSMS real estate was cramped during presentation when zoomed.  <– Adjusted SSMS to show results on new tab
  • I talked to long <– Set my phone up as a timer to keep me from the ever present tangents.

When presenting in Orlando for the first time ever, I was a bit on edge, so I over did the preparation, or so I thought.  I wasn’t going to show up at Tampa BI and shoot from the hip or anything crazy like that, I prepared to a level I thought would be good enough given my recent presentation of the material.  I took half a day off on Thursday and went through my slides and code examples, and I felt good about them.  I felt good about my level of knowledge and points that I’d like to address.

Knowing that the session time was short (45 minutes vs 60 minutes normally)  I had to condense my long-winded presentation and get to the point. I think in reviewing the material, I focused on what I thought I needed to say, and neglected to focus on how i wanted to say it.  In the end, my thoughts, then my words, all got jumbled and the well thought out word-smithing I had delivered in Orlando was not well polished or practiced for Tampa BI,  instead I relied on a few concepts which I could not analogize nor explain as well as on my previous presentation.

Now, despite all this self-abusing review, there were positive points.   One of the high-points of my data was as I was setting up, a gentleman from the previous session came up and talked to me and indicated that he saw my presentation in Orlando and used a CTE to fix a problem at work less than two weeks later.  He shared that he was able to take a process from 20 minutes to less that a 30 seconds just by reengineering the process to use a CTE.  That alone made the whole event worth attending.

I was fortunate enough to have a well known speaker attend a portion of my session who reached out after the event with some great feedback.  I couldn’t have bought more valuable feedback if I tried.  The feedback provided was constructive, positive feedback that will help me rework my presentation into a more useful source of information for those starting in our field.

Another high point, I was sitting at a table with one of my two SQL User Group leaders, Mrs. Pam Shaw, who happen to be sitting with a few of her friends.  When we realized there was no coordinated after-event, the whole table of us decided to grab dinner.  I had the pleasure of dining with some wonderful people, whose names I won’t publish here so as not to lead on that I have cool SQL friends, when I actually don’t.  Thanks for the conversation, it was truly enjoyed.

In the end I believe public speaking is a good place for me.  It forces me to learn more about a subject I think I already know about.  It reminds me that even thought I may have rocked it in Orlando, I can still  miss my target at Tampa BI.  It reminds me that the industry luminaries that you read on the blogs, watch at the events, and follow on Twitter, are all just regular folks who once walked in shoes quite similar to your own.     We are quite blessed that our field is filled with these folks who are so willing to give back and mentor us newer members with open arms.

Thank you all that came to my presentation, those that endured my conversation throughout the day, and of course those that have inspired me to get to this point. You can see my presentation at  Orlando SQL Saturday here. Thank you all.